The 3rd Generation Kindle

The Kindle 3

When the new WiFi Kindles were announced last month, I placed an order for one. I’ve been slowly transitioning from dead tree editions to electronic books for a while now (all but comics, which I’m still buying analogue style for now). Physically owning objects is more of a hassle than it’s worth to be honest, I’d rather have stuff electronically.

All in, it came to $165.56 (exchange, taxes, shipping, and duty).  When it arrived I was amazed by the packaging, and the size of the thing.

First the package.  People rave about Apple’s packaging, but Amazon’s was just so Amazon.  The entire package is made from recycled cardboard, everything, the inner liner, and even the instructions.  The box was elegant, and yet inexpensive, and is totally functional.  The device itself is tiny.  Just slightly longer than a paperback, but about the thickness of a magazine. It’s not touch screen, but you get used to that really quickly (I can imagine the benefits of a touch screen, but then there’d be a temptation to do more with it, like check emails or do web surfing).  I had some problems with it crashing my first day, but I haven’t really had those since.

I carry around a couple of books most days, stuff on web design or coding, business books (mostly management and startup advice stuff), and the occasional fiction tome for casual reading.

Now I’m carrying around one light little device that does one thing, and does it really well.

It lets you read books.

It has an instant connection to Amazon.com, and I have bought, on impulse, two books directly from the device.  The first one was an Agile Project Management book, at 300 pages, the electronic version was $15.99, while the dead tree edition is $45.00.  The second book is a novel called “Grumby”, about a fictional internet startup, dead tree edition: $24.95. Kindle price, $7.98.

Yeah, but seriously, the iPhone does all that.

Well, yes, it’s true, I have bought books on my iPhone, I’ve read books on my iPhone, and it’s good for that…plus a whole lot more.  That might just be the problem. First, the Kindle is a slightly bigger screen, it’s meant for reading on. It has vivid black text on a slightly off white background.  It looks uncannily like paper.  There’s also no back-light, so you need an ambient light to read. However it’s bigger, and the lack of a back light seems to strain my eyes less.  I read a lot yesterday, laid up in bed as I was, and yet my eyes aren’t uncomfortable in the least!

How can the Kindle be better than an iPad?

Simple really.  You can watch movies on your iPad, put it on your chest and you have the equivalent of a 100″ screen seen at a distance of 6′. Does that mean an iPad is a better TV than a TV?

iPads are quite a bit heavier than the Kindle, the experience of reading a Kindle is exactly like reading a black and white paper book…and most importantly the Kindle is less of a distraction.

When I’m on my Kindle the device is made for reading. There’s not the background buzz of “I should pop out and read my email”, or “I wonder what folks are doing on Facebook”, I read on the Kindle, and when I want to read, and when I want to do something else, I put the Kindle down.  The inertia there is just enough friction to encourage me to keep reading one more page.

I love the fact that my phone is my media/email/light web browsing, and Social Media device all rolled into one.  I don’t want to go back to the world of carrying a phone, mp3 player, and books…but carrying around a phone and an electronic book with my entire library?  Yeah, I could get used to that.

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